In the midst of one of the greatest crises in world football, it is time for its largest entity to take the lead and help those who are most in need. FIFA can invest around 1.5 billion USD to help solve the financial problems of the institutions around the world.
HISTORICAL DEFICIT IN EUROPEAN LEAGUES
Without a doubt, European football is what makes this wheel spin, with its figures getting higher every year. The national leagues played on the continent are the best-selling in the world, with the leagues of England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France standing out. The polarisation of these leagues is clear, they bring together the most valuable players in the world, and involve the most spectacular negotiations in the world.
It is hard to imagine that these entities have any difficulties that could compromise their future after the pandemic we are going through. However, studies show that the estimated losses amount to more than 20 billion in these 5 major leagues alone. This should directly influence the negotiations between clubs after the end of the 2019/2020 season, which should be one of the smallest in recent decades.
The biggest difficulty will be the fulfilment of the millionaire agreements with the most famous players. As an example, Messi is the best paid player in the world, followed by Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar, all members of this “millionaire league” group.
In contrast, the big clubs have huge sources of income, and the biggest difficulty will be for the smaller clubs, who depend on the income from these league games. Players from big clubs have announced substantial cuts in the amounts they would have to receive, and this is a natural and commendable gesture. However, the difficulty of teams with high bills and tight revenues, will be much larger.
WILL THIS BILLIONAIRE FIGURE BE ENOUGH?
FIFA hints the possibility of investing USD 1.5 billion, but to who will this money be directed to? Even the big-league clubs with the lowest revenues, I don’t think they will be the ones hit by the crisis the hardest. I give the example of Brazil, who currently has the most expensive league in South America but is still far below the revenue of European football.
The big clubs have a million-dollar deficit, but they certainly still have a higher income potential than those that depend on FA’s money and the box office to maintain themselves afloat. In Brazil there are many states, smaller clubs, members of lower divisions, who have short-term contracts with their athletes, and pay them figures completely out of this billionaire soccer bubble.
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FIFA money has to be invested in this kind of need. Clubs with the size of Flamengo and Palmeiras in Brazil or the size of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern in Europe will have millionaire losses, but will still count with the contribution of their owners, and companies that have bought their shares.
Smaller leagues in Europe, from countries with lower revenues, are the ones that should be supplied by this FIFA mechanism.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino has not yet announced how he will distribute the revenue, but he stressed that the idea is to cover a large part of world football’s territory.
Still during his speech, he stressed the need for everyone to make sacrifices at this time, although the leagues should remain at a standstill until it’s the appropriate time to trim the return. Lives are still worth more than any game.
All this is in line with other names in the sport, who have ended up making projections of radical changes in the sport for the “post-outbreak”. The time will come when these absurd amounts will have to be reviewed, because at first no club would be able to afford extraordinary values, taking into consideration the decrease in general income, such as box office, sponsorship and even television rights.
I believe that this amount, which FIFA will put into circulation, will be very important at this initial stage, where athletes and employees around the world will have their wages cut. I’m afraid that these amounts are used to pay for superstars, while the range of people involved with infinitely lower salaries are the real ones affected.
Another question remains: how long will this amount be enough to bear high costs around the world? The prospects so far are still rather bleak for a definitive return of the competitions.